I’ve read enough books, blogs and forums to say that I understand game and evolutionary psychology pretty much from ass to elbow. Furthermore, Athol’s specialty is relationship game – i.e., getting girls to treat you like gold – which is a skill set I have mastered more than any other. Roosh, Krauser, et al. are probably more effective than I am in the club or on the street, but when it comes to juggling close, loving, but non-monogamous relationships, I’ll go toe-to-toe with them or anyone else, any day of the week.
So while I think Athol’s a great writer, and I’ve always had a lot of respect for his work, I wasn’t expecting to pick up MMSL and have my mind blown.
To an extent, I was right. I learned very little from Athol about Game and the biological origins of human behaviour. Most of my readers probably won’t either, as MMSL derives much of its content from principles that are common knowledge within the Roissysphere. (To his great credit, Athol acknowledges the impolite and un-PC Roissy extensively, even though he probably could have saved himself many headaches by limiting his citations to more palatable sources.)
But whether I learned a lot or a little from MMSL is not a fair test of the book’s quality, because Athol is not writing for jaded twenty-five year old rogues for whom marriage is out of the question. Rather, as the title suggests, he is writing for the married man. And for the most part, he is writing for the beta-ized married man, who needs to step up and inject some Alpha into his relationship.
So let’s talk about my Dad.
My father is without question my #1 hero and role model in life. I will resist the urge to turn this book review into a 20,000 word post on why.
But per the zeitgeist within which he was raised, he is imbued with a strong and irrational desire to pedestalize and submit to the women he dates. He is what the PUA community would call a natural, but his instincts have always been to address problems in a relationship with conciliation. Athol would have no trouble identifying him as a man with excellent game, but who sabotages his relationship with women via excessively beta “Nice Guy” behaviours.
When I started reading Roissy, Roosh, Fast Seduction, and the major texts of evolutionary psychology, I also made a hobby of proselytizing my newfound truths to those close to me. I sent my father many Roissy posts; I left Sperm Wars at his reading table; I did my youthful best to explain to him the principles of game, the Alpha/Beta dichotomy, and my relationship management strategies. My favourite analogy to draw was from our recent foray into Cesar Milan and his dog training philosophy of becoming the pack leader. His reply: “So you’re saying we should treat women like dogs?” Marketing was not one of my earlier strengths.
More recently, I started sending him posts from Athol’s blog.
My father never told me, outright, that he had read them. But one day, he made a comment that I recognized as straight from the MMSL playbook. We weren’t even talking about women. Our dog was misbehaving, and he grinned and said, “Maybe I need to be acting more alpha, less beta with him.”
I called him out on actually reading something I’d sent him, and he admitted it. We had a long talk about Game, Alpha behaviours, and de-pedestalizing women.
When Athol sent me a review copy of MMSL, I gave it my Dad. He read it cover to cover. He had barely looked at anything I’d sent him about Game before that. Since then, we’ve had conversations in which he’s confessed to doubting some of his longest-held beliefs. He admits the harm his irrational desire to serve women has caused him in his past. He is more comfortable about acknowledging the legitimacy of pursuing his own happiness within his relationship, rather than just his partners. And he has acknowledged that yes, my very not-nice approach towards getting and keeping women might be a valid one.
But while progress can be made, there are some habits that can never be unlearned. My father will never be me. He will always be 90% Nice Guy. But Athol Kay did more to encourage that crucial 10% of change with one book, than I have in a near-decade of haranguing, book-buying and link-forwarding.
So why did MMSL succeed where so many before have failed?
The distinguishing feature of Athol’s book and blog, is his inherent relatability to men with Nice Guy syndrome. There are a lot of men in the world who are instantly repelled by the teachings of the Roissysphere, even though they desperately need its advice. Athol Kay is the ambassador who is distilling those truths into a medium that can be digested, even by men still firmly ensconced in the matrix. His most remarkable achievement is that he has somehow done so without watering them down with pretty lies.
Athol succeeds at delivering his message because is not a smooth pickup artist. He’s just a regular nice guy – who also has a great family and bangs his wife eight days a week. Recovering nice guys will listen to Athol, because they see themselves in him – a better version of themselves.
When I came of age, I had the realities of Roissy, Style and Tucker Max to compare against the conventional wisdom that men should be nice, and if that’s not enough, well gawsh, they just need to be nicer. I easily concluded that the latter philosophy was crap, and the former had the answers I needed. I faced no obstacles to becoming the cynical realist that I am today.
My father was raised in an era without such resources. He drank the feminist Kool-Aid, and sought to create an equal partnership in his relationships, and eventually marriage. The results would not have surprised Athol, Roissy, or myself circa 2011. But they surprised our family, as we went through a decade of experiences that read like a Men’s Rights Advocacy pamphlet. Thankfully, our story ends with my father, my siblings and I living healthy, happy, successful lives. But while reading Athol Kay’s Married Man Sex Life, I caught myself wondering: What if Athol had published his book twenty years ago? And my father had found it then?
For many of my readers, the idea of marriage ranges from unthinkable to unlikely. But we are a rare minority in a world full of men and families who will be destroyed by their failure to implement the ideas in MMSL. I think Athol’s book is going to save thousands from the fate that my family suffered. I suggest you search your life for people you care about, and add their names to that list.